Revealed: Almost 6,000 TfL staff receive counselling for problems including stress and anxiety

Tom Powell
Tube drivers were the single largest group of staff given counselling: Shutterstock

Almost 6,000 Transport for London (TfL) staff have received counselling for issues including stress, anxiety and the witnessing of suicide attempts since 2010, it has been revealed.

Figures obtained by City A.M. show that Tube drivers were the single largest group of staff given counselling in 2015/16.

In the last two years, 91 drivers were referred for counselling specifically to deal with “person under the train” incidents.

The data, procured under the Freedom of Information Act, found that there had been a total of almost 600 suicide attempts on London Underground since 2003.

Finn Brennan, from the Aslef rail union, told City A.M: “These figures demonstrate the pressure that tube staff, and especially drivers, work under as they do their best to cope with the demands placed upon them.

“It's right that TfL support their hard working staff, especially those who have to deal with the terrible trauma of suicides on the Underground.”

Tube staff took over 15,500 face-to-face counselling sessions between 2013 and 2016 (AP)

TfL has spent over £4.4 million since 2010 on counselling sessions for 5,810 members of staff.

Workers participated in more than 15,500 face-to-face counselling sessions in the last three years alone.

Stress was the main reason employees sought counselling, with 450 cases. In second place was anxiety (232) followed by depression on 200. Relationships, anger management and harassment were also among the factors.

The figures show Tube staff took over 15,500 face-to-face counselling sessions between 2013 and 2016.

Mr Brennan added: “Tube drivers spend eight hours a day working in a small metal box deep underground while coping with the pressure of a demanding's not surprising that some suffer from stress or depression occasionally.

“Ensuring that people are supported when problems arise is the best way to stop issues getting worse.”

Olivia Carlton, TfL's head of occupational health, told the Standard: “The health and well-being of our 27,000 staff is a major priority for us. We manage a network on which more than 31 million journeys take place each day and the safety of our employees and our customers is paramount.

"Our staff have access to a telephone helpline provided by an external company as well as in-house one to one counselling and group sessions to teach stress reduction techniques. Counselling is a safe and cost effective way of helping people who may be suffering from stress, depression, bereavement or other issues - getting them back to work and in many cases preventing future absence.”

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